The Map! The Map!

Guinevere wants me to write about her.

Other characters wait their turn.

Words fail me today, my fast-food-sized menu of a vocabulary and grammaticalarianiamistically-challenged phrases.

The hallowed echoes of a hollow hall, where eight enthusiastic faces sang dressed in black not madrigals, regaled us with their ringing voices last night.

The sanctuary of church has only one purpose for me — meditation upon the infinite.

How you anthropomorphise the infinite is your concern, not mine.

Rather, your concern interferes with my meditation.

A cathedral ceiling should reflect the echoes of pipe organs and windpipes.

Sermons are for those without a voice of their own.

Church was once the social sewing machine that stitched subcultures together at the family and community levels.

Now that recorded music and other aspects of church life are available on a pick-and-choose-at-your-convenience at your local convenience store where wafers (leavened and unblessed) meet your bodily needs, the reasons that some went to church are met away from the edifice.

My thoughts are my sanctuary, my heaven and hell.  An author is quoted as saying, “You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul. You have a body.,” allegedly C.S. Lewis the entertainer.

Last night, the Huntsville Collegium Musicum invited the community to hear early choral music in Covenant Presbyterian Church at 7:30 p.m., an invitation I found at 6:30 p.m. while looking online at al.com for events to attend and get me out of a house whose cathedral ceiling echoed with the sounds of recorded television shows.

Grumpily, my wife agreed to go with me, sans (le) dîner.

Happily, I drove her there.

The program consisted of religious and secular music.

There were no church social calendar announcements, no children’s Bible lesson, no Karaoke Jesus, no cappuccino and Christ, and no sermon.

It was heaven on Earth!

I closed my eyes and felt the soundwaves bounce against me (my wife saw colours and emotions dancing when her eyes were closed).

I opened my eyes and watched the physical manifestation of  joy on the singers’ faces flow through their bodies and out of their mouths which changed shape to shape musical notes and sung words.

This is the one and only purpose for a church.  All the rest — the Sunday school lessons, the social outreach, the weekend retreats — has no meaning to me.

[Except for the one small detail that my wife of 26+ years I met at summer camp (Holston Presbytery Camp in Banner Elk, NC) when we were 12 years old so, yeah, I owe a debt of gratitude to the whole social environment of religion (co-ed summer campers in the woods reading the Bible and sharing sleeping bags?  how disgraceful!) that put us two together (but don’t worry, Church Lady, we didn’t kiss until after my wife turned 19).]

After my wife and I ate at a VERY LOUD restaurant called Drake’s, which killed any reverent mood we were in but filled our bellies, we returned home, suffered through many a lame skit on SNL for a few good laughs and turned on the main computer in the living room to play early choral music and listen to the echoes bouncing off the cathedral ceiling.

Some of my neighbours still get up on Sunday mornings to gather socially at whatever version of church they prefer.

This here, in front of a computer screen, is my church, the litanies composed in my thoughts rolled out in the holy text of a limited vocabulary, my wife sleeping with our cats at the other end of our country cabin of a house in the woods, within miles of native American burial mounds and hallowed cemeteries.

To last night’s singers, I salute you.

You make the long, lonely, expensive trip to celestial bodies worth the effort.

Which reminds me, if killing eliminating others cleanses my soul, what am I going to do if I’m the only living soul on Mars whose zest for living — his savoirfaire, his je ne sais quoi, his fly in the coffee of his petit dejeuner — is so strong that snuffing out Earth-based lifeforms will be his only salvation?

Will you survive to read the next blog entry?

And if you do, will you serve as a humorous aside, hero amidst tragedy, lone wolf , space pioneer, Bright, ascetic, or salt of the earth?

One thought on “The Map! The Map!

  1. My Hope Is In You View SATB score page 3 , page 4 Click here to listen (SATB Advent Lyric) Click here to listen (SATB General Lyric) Gorgeous song of praise with dual text for Advent or General use throughout the year. Based on Psalm 25, with fluid, supportive piano accompaniment. “To You, O Lord, I lift my soul; my hope is in You all day long …” Available in two voicings; optional solo violin part (or other C-instrument) is included in the score and adds a lovely touch.

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